Your patients with diabetes know how serious this chronically debilitating disease can often be.
However, if we look at the national statistics for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, the stakes quickly escalate. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimated that more than 30 million Americans, or more than 9 percent of the population live with diabetes.1
Of those 30 million cases, almost 1.5 million will represent brand new cases of diabetes that are diagnosed for the first time in any given year. Furthermore, those 30 million Americans with diabetes represent an enormous medical cost of $327 billion per year. This breaks down into $237 billion for direct medical costs (such as needles, insulin and other diabetes medications, surgery, or wound care) and another $90 billion in reduced productivity as a result from sick days or personal time off from work for doctor visits.1
Overall, medical expenditures for people with diabetes are more than twice as high for those who do not have diabetes.
Clearly, there must be a better – and more cost effective – way to treat diabetes. Stop to consider that by the time a patient with diabetes comes into your waiting room, they’ve likely been to more than one specialist to treat their diabetes, but still have not gotten relief from their symptoms.
That’s a great deal of time and money they have already spent, so it should not be surprising that they may not put much stock in your ability to help them. This is when your expert knowledge of nutritional supplements can be the answer to the ongoing problem of treating your patients with diabetes. Some interesting research seems to have shown some promise for digestive enzymes to do just this.
How do digestive enzymes for diabetes help?
Digestive enzymes help the body break down the nutrients in food so that they can be properly absorbed and used by the body. Protease breaks down proteins, lipase breaks down fats, and amylase helps the body digest sugars and carbohydrates.
Your patients with diabetes have difficulty properly metabolizing all of the nutrients, which is why supplements that include protease, lipase and amylase can be beneficial for helping to manage both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
What does the research say?
A 2013 review article in the journal Nutrition summarizes the current state of research in the field of how probiotic and prebiotic enzymes may help improve lipid profiles, glucose metabolism, and insulin resistance for patients with diabetes, as well as for those with pre-diabetes and glucose resistance.2
Other studies have shown that probiotics can also help improve antioxidant status, blood glucose status, and obesity for patients with Type 2 diabetes.2 Furthermore, the authors of the study suggested that starting patients who are at the prediabetic stage on digestive enzymes may help offset some of the issues that come from diabetes earlier one, thereby lessening the overall health and cost impact.1
The take-home from this article may be to add digestive enzymes, such as probiotics and prebiotics, into the selection of supplements that you normally recommended to your patients who either have diabetes, or have metabolic issues that may lead to diabetes.
Even a moderate improvement in the symptoms associated with diabetes or prediabetic conditions can lead to cost savings in the long run.